Special features of the country
ROC Constitution is founded by China’s great revolutionary Dr Sun Yat Sen’s Three Principles of the People(known in Chinese as san ming zhu yi三民主义): Nationalism, Democracy and People’s livelihood. Under this constitution, the authority has to serve the nation and citizens in exchange for the power granted to it. People are also guaranteed freedoms and many rights in various social aspects, equal treatment and a decent livelihood. Personal property is also protected under the constitution. Actions taken by the government must also accord with the provinces stated in the constitution. The purpose of all this is to create a nation of democracy, economic prosperity, social security and justice. The Principal of Nationalism demands autonomy in the international community as well as equal treatment.
HistoryThis is the country whose economic development was recognized by the global community as economic miracle, this is the country that experiences rises and falls of significance in Asia and world and this is the country that was once the head of the “4 Asian Tigers”. This is the Republic of China, or known to many as Taiwan-the land of freedom in Asia. In this chapter, we will have a closer look at its political structure and focus on the importance of the constitutional reforms that shape the present democratic Taiwan. A short analysis of the long journey this small island has taken to achieve economic success will also be included.
Structure of Government
The governmental structure of ROC has 3 levels, the Central Level (Presidency, National Assembly and five branches of government), special municipality(Taichung and Kaoshiung) level and the local level consisting of five provincial municipality and 16 county governments. The 5 branches of government refer to Legislative, Executive, Judical, Examination and Control. Here I will just be explaining to you the 4 main branches in charge of governmental administration. This makes it very much like the governmental structure adopted in United State.
Legislative Yuan is the administrative branch that has the most power among the 5 brances. It implement and direct government policy. In addition, it also audit and hear report of administration or from president each year, check the budget, instigate impeachment procedures against president and vice president, supervise the work of Executive Yuan and confirm the administrative members appointed by the president. The Legislative members are elected by the people and can serve for 3 years. The Executive Yuan is heading the ROC cabinet It has several subordinate organizations such as the Executive Yuan council, the eight ministries (interior, foreign affairs, national defence. Etc) as well as commissions such as Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission as well as other departments and administration. The Judicial Yuan is the highest judicial body of the state. It consists of the Council of Grand Justices whose members are appointed by the president, Supreme Court, high courts, district courts and other subordinate units. Its role is to oversee the nation’s court system. The main responsibility of Control Yuan is to supervise governments at all levels and holding powers of impeachment, censure and audit. The members are forbid from holding other public office and profession, as well as being a member of certain political party. The president is the head of state and the highest representative of the nation．It was elected directly by the people instead of the National Assembly. The president is allowed to hold his office for 2 terms of 4 years. He is the representative in all foreign relations and state function. Acts are conducted in his name. He commands the military forces, announce a law or a decree, and convene the National Assembly. However, to prevent him from possessing too much power, the control yuan can impeach against the president if ever he is suspected of corruption and not operating according to constitution. The National Assembly, after six constitutional amendments made, has most of its powers transferred to Legislative Yuan. It is a non-standing body whose powers include voting on constitutional amendments, presidential impeachment or alteration of national boundaries.
EconomyThere are many stages of economic development. The first stage, which serves as a foundation for a democratic ROC and beginning of a prosperous and stable economy starts in 1949 when the KMT (Kuomingtang) central government relocated to Taiwan after defeated by the communists. It was not over; the KMT faced with immense threat from Mainland Chinese communists as minor sea combats took place at the Straits of Taiwan. Thanks to the close diplomatic ties with other democratic countries and the support of USA, the economic situation was quite fine. In 1971, Taiwan ended the close relationship with its big partner, USA, and the economy declined drastically and the situation was quite dire. However with a efficient authoritarian government and a one-party system and the implementation of Emergency Decree (started in 1949) in which some but not many rights were temporally frozen, modernization was promoted with the resultant political stability. With per capita income rising from less than US$100 in 1949 to US$186 in 1952 and to US$1,193 by 1977, no wonder the international community regard Taiwan’s economic progress as miracle. The change in social stratification resulted in more people joining the middle and upper class. More people in high social status means more political participation. Subsequently, Taiwan become more and more democratic and developed from a “one party reigns supreme” state to a bipartisan state and then to the present multi-party state following a series of democratic reforms and revision of constitution. However, what follows is political chaos we see on the TV in Taiwan nowadays in which vicious competition took place between various political parties. In my recent interviews with several Taiwanese, many expressed their disappointment of the poor performance the government. Many were sick of the cheap promises made by politicians and some were particularly sick about the splitting of ethnical groups in Taiwan initiated by the current central government, Democratic Progressive Government. In amidst of this political mayhem, some look forward to the period of Emergency Decree when political and social security are guaranteed. Taiwan is also lagging behind the 4 Asian Tigers , namely Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea while it used to be the top 2, 3 decades ago.
Literacy rateThe literacy rate in Taiwan has been quite high. In 1994, it was reported that the literacy rate is 94%, a big jump from less than 60% in 1952, thanks its government who put a emphasis on providing the young citizens with knowledge and skills; education was made compulsory. All youths have to complete their high school education.
Will Taiwan’s democracy work in China?It is very impossible for a democracy like that of Taiwan to work on a gigantic country like China. The government in China have already troubled by corruptions of members within its polity, surely a democratic and open system like that of Taiwan will posed great disasters for China to govern China. Furthermore, China, consisting of over 50 ethnic groups, if ever freedom of speech were allowed, will split asunder like the fate of Russia
Will Chinese Communism work in Taiwan?At first, large number of peasants, namely farmers and workers, of many countries, supported communism. Though Taiwan's economy less than 50 years of Japanese Occupation (that was before Chinese Nationalist came) was largely agricultural based, the society comprised of many outstanding Taiwanese who prospered and became well off under Japanese rule. These people had respect from local farmers and peasant and had an influence on them as well, due to the fact that the supported and the supporters were both Chinese. With a considerable portion of educated class, demand for recognition and political participation was certain. Hence, a communist system probably won't receive enough support from this section of middle class. Besides, the Taiwanese had been long comfortable with the idea of private ownership. Even farmers felt secured since the policy of 375 percent rent limitation that stopped the farmers from being exploited by big landowners.
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